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if not "masu", then what?? -_-;;

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RE: if not "masu", then what?? -_-;;

Postby nprz » Tue 10.18.2005 11:01 pm

InsanityRanch wrote:
I distinctly remember seeing in a blue book a chart illustrating the fact that verb conjugations for v5 verbs follow the a/i/u/e/o pattern -- that is, the negative stem, masu stem, plain form, conditional stem and er, er, intentional (?) stem are formed just like the syllabary column of the verb's last syllable.

Maybe I am weird, but for me this INSTANTLY made the whole system much more understandable. Then of course, I had to learn v1 verbs like taberu, but I thought of them as just a simplified version of the v5 pattern.

I have no idea if conjugation is commonly taught this way, since I've never taken an organized class in Japanese. But for me it turned chaos into order in a single instant.

Shira


This is why they are called v5/v1 or 五段動詞/一段動詞 5 step verbs/1 step verbs.
5 step verbs use all the a/i/u/e/o for negative/stem(noun)/plain, dictionary form/command, conditional/volitional. v1 just drops the ru in any conjugation.

The terms category 1, 2, and 3 never made any logical sense to me and was never used when I studied in Japan.

I agree that polite form should be stressed in beginning level classes, but teaching conjugation from dictionary form to masu form taking at most 2 class meetings. I am pretty sure every Japanese book I've studied from made it clear that using the plain form in inappropriate times can be rude.
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RE: if not "masu", then what?? -_-;;

Postby skrhgh3b » Wed 10.19.2005 5:18 pm

beginners can't help but be rude, though. it's going to happen. i've commited so many faux-pases (say, what's the plural of faux-pas? lol) i should crawl in a hole and die, but that's part of the learning process. if you had the exact appropriate word, grammar, phrase, etc. for every social situation, you'd be fluent already.
Last edited by skrhgh3b on Wed 10.19.2005 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: if not "masu", then what?? -_-;;

Postby Mukade » Thu 10.20.2005 12:33 am

The point isn't to get you speaking perfectly from the get-go. It's to make sure that what little you can say, you can at least say politely.

The idea is that if the teacher taught dictionary form first, and you drop out or go to Japan before you ever get to polite form, you won't have any option but to be rude with everyone, everywhere you go, at all times.

That's a little more than a simple faux-pas (which, BTW, is both singular and plural).
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RE: if not "masu", then what?? -_-;;

Postby Mukade » Thu 10.20.2005 12:43 am

I just wanted to add an anecdote:

The program where I learned Japanese never taught us to use dictionary form in speech. We learned dictionary form (mostly for -te form), but they never told us we could use it as-is in a conversation.

So when I first came to Japan to do a study abroad, I was always being told that I sounded very polite (in a good way). At the time, I couldn't really explain that that wasn't because I'm necessarily a polite person, but that I just didn't know how to say it any other way.

Of course, the flip side of this is that when you become more familiar with people (your friends or host family), continuing to use -masu form will make you sound cold and distant. My host mother (a widow) finally yelled at me one day - "Stop being so polite with me all the time!" :o

I think, though, if the situation had been reversed, i.e., were I to come to Japan speaking nothing but plain form until I eased into -masu form, that my situation would not have been as pleasent. I can't imagine all the (more) toes I would have stepped on...
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RE: if not "masu", then what?? -_-;;

Postby Harisenbon » Thu 10.20.2005 4:58 am

Mukade,

I had the same experience. When I first came to Japan when I was 15, everyone complemented me on my very polite Japanese. However, as I got closer with people, especially my family, they started telling me that I should start talking to them more casually, as they were my family. I had to tell them then that I hadn't learned anything but masu-form.

Conversely, now I speak almost entirely in conversational japanese, which uses dictionary form. This gets me in BIG trouble whenever I have to talk to anyone of any importance. I've been chided a number of times, and hit by my wife MANY times for speaking incorrectly in front of a superior.

In the words of my wife, foreigners (especially beginners) do not often have the ability to switch politeness levels depending on who they are talking to. Speaking in polite Japanese is the safe way to go to avoid pissing people off and making them think "oh, just another rude foreigner."
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RE: if not "masu", then what?? -_-;;

Postby nprz » Thu 10.20.2005 3:51 pm

Well, my class instructor never said "talk in dictionary form", she said "this is dictionary form, this is how you turn it into masu form". After that she went through every other conjugation. I don't think she ever told us to talk in dictionary form either but we all knew what it was. Then when I go to Japan, we find out that no one our age talks to us in masu form, at least we already know dictionary form and all its conjugations.
I think this is the best approach because you don't give any wrong impressions to the students and you are not stripping them from important knowledge.
If you are learning Japanese only for business, then screw plain form, because it is unimportant for your goal. You should instead learn polite form and respectful forms.

I think the rude foreigners are the ones that learn from anime or just informal English, automatically assuming all Japanese speak English because they studied it for 8+ years.

Someone that doesn't learn important things are going to make a large blunder (not faux pas). It also doesn't take much time to go over the important points and then go into depth later.
From nativsweetie's original post, using that knowledge she received from friends, she would definately make a large blunder and step on lots of toes. I am always careful about stuff people say as facts. If it doesn't seem logical, I check multiple sources (not friends, but online or books, something more reliable).
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